Category Archives: Debt

A Vote for Democrats as a Public-Sector Union Member may be a Misguided Vote

On the ballot in Minnesota are two items that public-sector union members should consider very closely when/if voting straight Democrat in the 2018 Midterms: 1) Single-Payer Healthcare and 2) $15 Minimum Wage. These items are directly contradictory of the hard work that has been done to fight for your benefits and your living wage as a public-sector union member, let me explain my thoughts on these two items and how they could be undoing recent accomplishments of public-sector unions.

  • $15 minimum wage for all does not increase your living wage as a public-sector union member, in fact, it may make your wage less livable, more futile. It may also reduce the number of employees in the local workforce, triggering more unemployment, in order to make up for increased wages paid without increased profits earned. This does not benefit you as a public-sector union member and it does not benefit your community. Many Democrat candidates champion $15 minimum wage as a good thing with little evidence to prove their point, it is already being implemented in St Paul, MN (one example of concern about Minimum Wage locally); recently, perhaps, jobs have gone, businesses have and will close and move elsewhere in lieu of this policy change. These items impact us all. Here is a resource on Minimum Wage.
  • A Single-Payer Healthcare System implementation is an item of considerable speculation, ambiguity, and concern. If you have good healthcare/insurance now, one your union fought hard for to attain, perhaps you can kiss that benefit goodbye under Democrats who want a Single-Payer Health Care System. What’s more, not only could a Single-Payer Healthcare System give you theoretical universal healthcare and take away your unique healthcare plan, one based on your individual needs, one that fits you, but it could increase the taxes for you and your community–keep in mind Minnesota has the fifth highest tax burden in the nation, currently. Could you afford to go on a plan that isn’t built for you precisely and that may cost you more? I don’t think I could, and we are all different with special and unique healthcare needs. And what is the quality of Single-Payer Healthcare and is making it mandatory for all even constitutional? I have just a few questions on this topic, you should as well. I am open-minded. Here is a resource on Medicare for All.

These items, and the policies related to them, concern me as a public-sector union member, as a taxpayer, as a dad, as a husband and as a voter, especially when the rhetoric is at a fever pitch and the focus is on what President Trump does personally on Twitter or how bad he is or was as a person or ubiquitous smear campaigns against both political parties and not on actual government policy that change things for you and I and ours.

These policies are paramount to all. But do we all understand them entirely? Do we understand he Bill of Rights or the Constitution? I am not sure I do. Further, do we vote because we hate something or someone, or because we love something or someone, or their ideas are good? Do we vote for what was benign in the past, what might have worked out OK for that moment, or do we move forward and vote for ideas that work for the future, our future?

The items mentioned above, even though mere rhetoric, could have grave impacts on wages and benefits and communities actually. Think about that when you vote, it does matter.

Moreover, when you vote in the upcoming midterm election, don’t think about the party or something far away or some big ideas or some boilerplate talking point, think about your pocketbook, think about the Constitution, think about the law, the Bill of Rights, small changes for positive, and think about your local situation, good or bad, and how you can improve on it. You have the opportunity to say you want better, your voice is your vote. That thought and decision and voice on who you vote for will impact you most. That and recall, maybe the party that claims to represent your public-sector union vociferously is not the party that represents you personally.

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Tim Walz is for Higher Taxes in Minnesota and those Taxes are Absolutely Necessary

It’s a fact that Minnesota has the 5th highest tax burden in America, yet we could have the highest tax burden in the country if we elect more Democrats. We could be number one. I believe that is what we must do. That is why I believe we must vote for Tim Walz, because a vote for Tim Walz is a vote for higher necessary taxes.
Remember the above stated fact whilst placing your votes in November. We are not the highest taxed state in our country: four other states outdo us in paying higher taxes. We must show our country that we can and will pay more in taxes for what is right. Tim Walz is absolutely the candidate to make it happen, he already proposed adding a gas tax to Minnesotan’s taxes, and many other tax hikes. To do better we need to vote for Tim Walz who will raise our taxes greatly, regardless.
In conclusion, we must pay higher taxes to make Minnesota the highest taxed state in America. Big government has a “buy now” price, Tim Walz is ready and willing with our pocketbooks. Let’s not wait. We must keep Minnesota progressive no matter the heavy cost. That is why, in November, I am willing to pay my fair share with higher taxes imposed by Tim Walz and the Democrats. I am willing to look good and pay more by voting for the Democratic party exclusively. I hope you consider this option and do that same.

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How spontaneously getting involved in a Grassroots Political Campaign helped me discover the most important thing in the world, let me explain

I am going to tell you what the most important thing in the world is in this post, are you ready?  Accordingly, by the time you are done reading this post you will have learned one of the most important concepts that there is to learn in life, it will feel good.  You will be improved and feel positive.  Let me start with by saying, I found this valuable idea by volunteering for a political party, doing grassroots campaign calls and giving surveys in my spare time.  That is where I found this important idea and why I want to share it with you.

I have never been more excited to share something that wasn’t a sales pitch.  Do you ever get this line from people?  I digress…  That is not what this essay is about, it’s about talking with random strangers on the phone about random strangers who may in a sense rule them and getting something actually human out of it.  Our country is divided into how many parties and there are people out there talking on the phone and reading scripts and sharing ideas.  (And people listen!)  Voice interaction, the old calling someone up and saying “Hello, is (person’s name) there?…  Mind answering a few questions???”

Calling, communicating, asking questions, these things leave an impression.  Impressions are called impressions because they they are pressed on the brain, indelibly hard to forget.  (When someone thinks their ideas matter that makes them feel good.)  I give them a name, tell them more names–familiar recognition, and even if they don’t want to speak to me or take the survey, they hear kindness and associate that kindness with me, with that party.  They hear my voice, some moniker that is a very familiar one–like John or Dan, and they remember that encounter at the voting booth.

For starters, I believe that is what this nameless grassroots campaign wants to happen.  I have read a few books on persuasion, and I realize that unforgettable first impression is exactly what they want to happen.  Blank canvas, hello, think, names, ok, yes, goodbye.  However, it can be difficult; cold callers have the hardest jobs out there because voices give away everything.  Nervousness, confidence, snark.  It’s not a Facebook post, it’s an interaction, in real-time.  The campaign manager wants to be blurt out the names as fast as I can, new names, old names, take a survey, etc.  Think on those memorable names.  And after that, I am surprised people say “yes” because I often say “no” to such surveys.

Remember, this is important.  Doing things in your free time for what you believe in is important, whether that be getting your candidate elected or helping to mentor someone in literacy.  Doing a social experiment for science is important, getting into politics or marketing with persuasion is important.  Going above and beyond a Facebook post or an ad-hoc spectacle or holding a sign proves that you realistically want to do something to make change, like, perhaps writing legislature.  (We’ve all been there.)

Sure, we can all make waves in a group, that is impressive as well, yet we can get carried away from what is deep within our hearts as individuals.

I thought about my little social experiment and it doesn’t matter the party, it doesn’t matter the ideas because they are all for political effect; insomuch as Thomas Sowell said about “rent control”, in Basic Economics:  I paraphrase, it’s all hot button issues, that’s it.  But aside from the hot button political issues, in the end the underdog is the ultimate American.  The one that believes in their values when the popular majority throws them out and calls them dogs, doubts them infinitely.  That is the time when believing in yourself and doing what other people call “stupid”, “idiotic” or “wrong” on social media is the most important.

In conclusion, the most important thing is to do what is most important to you, not what’s important to everyone else and what they think about it.  Don’t worry about a sea of vehement passionists screaming accolades so you fall in line, or shaming you so you steer off course.  Stick to your plan.  Believe in your goals.  Believe in yourself.  If you can change the political color of a state, or someone’s mind, and not need to feel endorsed by everyone with their Twitter likes or their Insta-approval then it means that you are doing something right and that is important.  Even hearing “No, I would not like to take your survey…” is important because that person is telling you how they feel and making a point for what matters to them.  That is the most important thing in the world.

More information:  https://ballotpedia.org/Minnesota_elections,_2018

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BREAKING NEWS: No Study Ever finds that your Life is Fated by Pennies, People, and Problems

This week has changed my life. Events unfolded and I became apart of the solution. This fix took up a week, and a majority of my time allotted for other projects. But the things I did learn through experience taught me one thing– oh, and finding pennies and Easter Eggs throughout let me know that I was where I was supposed to be, like everyone else is–it taught me to take it as it comes. Be where I am when I am right here right now.

Firstly, events take place, happen, go down, and unfold beyond our humanly control. (I read a tweet about this: worry is a waste of time, the past is the past, we cannot worry about things we cannot change, etc.) I understand I cannot change the past I can only change the future, hopefully. In this new “special project” I have found that positivity is the only way to move forward together. We must move onward positively together. Getting down or bummed or saddened about something will only hamper your forward progress.

Secondly, everywhere I went this week I was met with a smile–or by the end of the meeting, a smile had fixed a frown or a grimace, at least in most cases. Furthermore, I kept finding pennies placed throughout my experiences. I got lost, found a penny. Someone needed me to do an alternative task, I found a penny. At the train station, found a penny. In this, I don’t believe pennies are lucky. But if I find a lot of pennies, a lot of pennies add up. Or maybe god is buying me a beer, I have no way to knowing. Also, these finds act like checkpoints for my life. Look for your pennies and you will see dollars. Then retrace your steps along that path, how did you come by three cents?! WOW! 🙂

The most important part to all of this is the worry factor. I read this last night, for a moment. The last few days, I saw people worried, upset, and frustrated. I stayed calm. I have no idea how. I just stayed calm and collected. Because it is how we act during times of uncertainty that matter most. (Someone famous said that, or something similar). Beyond the stress, the unpredictability, I was learning something unique, something new. Something different. It didn’t matter what; but if you are doing something different from your regular routine, you are learning something new. Remember that in a shitty situation that you have never had to deal with before.

Some people could say their week was a wash, many others could call it a major success. And the point here is, this is every week, could be every moment. They did something. They made something happen. The reason this contrast is important is because we can see life in this way every day, or in another way. One day it is shit. One day it is good. Four letters, two different ideas completely. Why can’t they all be good? Why can’t we make it as such? And I think we can. Thought I would share.

You have made it here, right where are you are supposed to be. Now go look for your pennies.

Millennials, Strive for that Perfect Selfie because You will Never get out of Debt and You Will Never own Your Own Home Responsibly

“The more he identifies with the dominant images of need, the less he understands his own life and his own desires. The spectacle’s estrangement from the acting subject is expressed by the fact that the individual’s gestures are no longer his own; they are the gestures of someone else who represents them to him.”
― Guy DebordThe Society of the Spectacle

“The spectacle is the nightmare of imprisoned modern society which ultimately expresses nothing more than its desire to sleep. The spectacle is the guardian of sleep.”
― Guy DebordThe Society of the Spectacle

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The headline you just read is what I think to myself when I realize I shouldn’t spend money and should save for my future interests, especially when my contemporaries scroll social media and see how others are living large and in charge and strive to be just like them.

(Firstly, social media is an affirmation to spend more money, and waste more time.  Do you have it in you?)

I am pretty sure the people around me are concerned about my one point of obsession, my now goal: paying off all of my debt. My motivation being: Because I am a slave to debtors, credit card companies own me, my student loans own me, I really don’t exist freely…  What keeps me going in this direction:  Good reasons.

Good reasons:  Some day I will own my own house, responsibly–not through some insane mortgage.  Some day I will be out of debt, entirely: zero debt.  Some day I won’t have to work every day to pay my bills, no worries.  I will retire with dignity.  And again, those around me will benefit from my now goals, from my relatively insane efforts, from sacrifices I make.

These sacrifices are easier than the alternative for me, of living in debt for the rest of my life, chipping away at what I one minimum payment, all that high interest at a time.  That is stupid.  That is something that could use distractions!

It’s hard and easy for me to imagine that there is a world out there stranded glaring into their phones at millions of other people acting out their fantasies–Millennials et al., taking photos, images of a luxury lifestyle that is nothing more than made up. IT DOES NOT EXIST.

Imagine if we could get paid for that time spent glaring at other people’s dreams… We’d all be as rich as Hillary Clinton, Jimmy Buffet, Steve Jobs, or Donald Trump.

I really shouldn’t care about the setting or the background or how long it took for another person to get that perfect photo, the perfect selfie, and all those likes, although it worries me. I care, imagine.  That is my philanthropy for the day: caring.

(Your debt is that train in the “perfect selfie” video above, maybe doing the same to you as you read.  Stay off of those tracks that lead you, or the future you, into imminent danger.)

The first thing I think about when I see pictures of people doing AMAZING things is, how much debt does that person actually have, credit cards, student loans, etc.? I know, it’s none of my business, but for science…  Then I wonder, does all that debt add up to contrived happiness, the happiness in that picture, imagines on a screen, unfocused a distracted ephemera of fleeting feeling… Does it come from that?

(A hobby of imagining your existence is entirely different from what it is?  Doing this doesn’t cause change, it avoids it.)

And we compare ourselves to those counterfeit images, those freewheeling fantasies, those nice narrative and salacious story lines… Am I as good as that other person’s selfie?  No, no, I am not… Should I be spending more money, should I be buying into this false pretense?  Do I give a shit?

Then I vanish from social media and that apathetic society that we all pay to join in some way or another. I vanish because we all should and walk back into the deep woods to find our inner animal selves, or into a deep sleep.  Beasts called gentlemen in suits and ties pretending to be anything other than ourselves.

(When we die our Facebook us’s keep on living.  Is that me?  For example, my father died four years ago in June and he unfriended me on Facebook a couple of years after that.  He is virtually still alive, however he is physically dead.  I don’t know if he sleeps anymore.  I cannot visit his grave because my reality does not understand this sort of paradox.  Social media creates dead and living zombies right now.  Imagine.)

So, yes, back to the beginning, you will never get out of debt or own your own home, responsibly–without insane lenders and bad deals, if you keep this up.  That is what I tell myself and then avoiding those distractions becomes very easy for me. You as in me.

Forget your likes, upvotes, retweets, highlights from whatever years ago, virtual memories, Facebook lives, and other people’s selfies, they evoke no artistic value whatsoever (or maybe they do: this mini-essay tho.).  Think about what you owe that credit card company, what you owe in student loans? Try to smile now, make that art, Picasso. Get that photo sing.  Real good job.  Create those American Dreams.

I washed my car yesterday in 40 degree Minnesota cold and then I ate some Ramen Noodles, it cost me nothing and saved me a lot more

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Even notice how a boat with a few holes in it sinks over time and it becomes more worrisome the farther you are from land? I do. Now place this image of a boat sinking on your financial situation. You lose a dollar here, ten over there, $2.50 on that one thing; the boat is your bank account. That boat is sinking slowly and you are out to see, sharks, such as creditors, banks, and lenders are following in the murky deep. We almost sank again, but this time I told my wife instead of paying for a car wash I would do it myself. Watch.

Yesterday day came and went with a car wash in the 40 degree Fahrenheit warm of St Paul, Minnesota. I think people looked at me as though I were crazy, carrying buckets from my basement to splash and lather a car I cannot afford on a side street. Yeah, I feel pretty dumb leasing it, though the lease is up in less than 20 months and we will be on to something new. The whole time I polished this machine I thought of how stupid it made me feel, to live beyond my means. People watched that spectacle, another Subaru driver waved, my neighbor sold a beater and asked me how my day was. Great! Beautiful day!

And that is why I eat Maruchan ramen noodles and rice. (With a price tag of under $5 for a number of meals I can consider myself winning.) SO, imagine now your boat sinking, money floating away, those sharks behind, empty fridge at home, wife wondering what is going to happen, and then $10 is about to go away for a car wash that leaves you wanting better. Yeah, and that car is parked in the garage losing value, begging for insurance to be paid–the expensive kind. I can get a bit cold and wet outside on such a nice day, save us money, buy us time. My debt snowball is about to be rolling, debt avalanche.

After all this, I learned something. If you can’t get creative and do it yourself, it ain’t worth doing. And if your food restrictions do not work with your frugality or goals towards financial fitness, you may need to think about your goals. Because, how I see it, you can either be gluten free or debt free, I know the gluten is asking me to buy their beach house on credit, but that’s just my opinion.  That beach house is where those debt institutions are watching your boat sink slowly from afar, thinking about monetizing your financial death on YouTube (which is another story), so they can earn more.